This is a guest post by Dr. Jenifer Epstein on the topic of developing Employeepreneurship, which can be a great way to improve team performance.
You can read more about Jenifer’s work and accomplishments below the post!
What is an Employeepreneur?
An employeepreneur is an individual who views themselves as much more than someone who works for you. This person has identified specifically how they play into the overall mission of your organisation, and the part they play within it.
They have also identified how to go above and beyond for the good of the team, and the selfless outcome of supporting you as their leader.
These team members have adopted the organisation’s goals as their own and taken personal responsibility for how they perform. They also approach you regularly to either see what more they can do, or how they can do better for you.
Employeepreneurs – a rare breed?
If you have been leading a team for any length of time you know that these people are rare. I wonder if this needs to be the case when there is a way to cultivate a culture of people who take the entrepreneurial approach.
I am surprised that as leaders we aren’t better utilising our most priceless asset. After all, without our team there isn’t a platform for us to be leaders in the first place.
What I have found when working with leaders is they get so caught up in chasing cats that they overlook these people, or simply take for granted that we can rely on them to just be there.
Think about your team today and identify the very few who are consistently showing up. Now you can intentionally begin to create an environment to support them, challenge them, and leverage their leadership qualities.
I want you to pause for a minute to let the phrase “leverage their leadership qualities” sink in. This topic is for another time, but if you are leading a team right now there is a chance that you feel overwhelmed, scattered and exhausted.
Often you are failing to delegate to people that you have intentionally prepared to help you as a leader. Set the ego aside and empower the next wave of leadership in your team. You are not replacing yourself, you are creating space to do MORE.
How to create an environment to attract and develop employeepreneurs (and why you may not have any!)
Although a small detail, you may have noticed that I used the word “intentionally” twice already. This wasn’t by accident, because having an environment for employeepreneurs never is.
Very few people today will tolerate being driven by fear or micromanagement, so it is your job as a leader to have a clear enough vision so that you can powerfully communicate it and put the right people in the right places to make it happen. This is the first step.
Does your team actually know what you are trying to accomplish? If you went to each team member today and asked them how you measure their success, or where you want to be in the next 3-5 months SPECIFICALLY… could they answer you?
Could they tell you how the work they are doing has a direct impact? Have they developed and adopted a specific action plan? If not, how in the world can they help you get there?
Employeepreneurs grow from Communication and Collaboration
The definitive characteristic of a culture designed for the employeepreneur is communication. After you have identified who these people are, are you asking them if they ENJOY the work they do? Do they feel as though they are being challenged, or utilised in a way that they are leveraging their greatest strengths?
Have you asked them what new ideas or feedback they might be able to contribute? These conversations will not only benefit you and the team, it will make this person feel valued and in control.
The second characteristic is freedom for creativity and innovation. Fans of concepts like the “Blue Ocean Strategy” know that innovative thinking is the fastest way to create wide open space within your market.
If you’ve heard the phrase “two heads are better than one”, you also know that collaboration can generate strategies that you may have never previously considered.
How leveraging Employeepreneurs improves performance
Leverage is all about putting the right people in the right seats on the bus. Once you’ve communicated with your team and you know where they are strongest and happiest, your team is now unstoppable. You are also empowered enough to decide if certain team members shouldn’t be on the bus at all.
We remember from school that we excelled in the subjects we enjoyed the most. We “performed best” when we respected our instructors. Why we feel this all goes out the window in the workplace is beyond me.
Employees will perform better for leaders they respect, and in the roles where they feel competent, happy and strong. (For example, keep in mind that just because someone is fantastic at sales doesn’t mean they enjoy it. It may also mean they would enjoy it more and would be more effective if the sales process was handled differently.) This holds true for all roles within an organisation.
Building a team of employeepreneurs must be intentional. I challenge you as a leader to ensure your vision and the roles of each team member can be clearly communicated.
Discover how much your team currently knows about what you are trying to accomplish. Then make it your top priority to place each person in the position to be a leader just like you.
About Dr. Jenifer Epstein
Dr. Jenifer Epstein began her career as a Chiropractor. After several years as a business owner, she was able to successfully transition into finance where she went from an entry-level advisor to a Fortune 100 executive in under 4 years.
Her role today involves leading a successful sales organisation, leadership development and high performance. Jenifer also offers career coaching services to successful professionals who are feeling trapped and unfulfilled to strategically transition into a career that provides alignment, connection and purpose.
You can find out more about Jenifer and her work on Facebook here.
Very thoughtful insights. I can think of a lot of people ( including me) who can benefit from the seeds of thought this article has planted.
Agreed – great post by Dr. Jenifer. Glad you enjoyed it!